Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Armed Robots Not Actually Gone From Iraq

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the someone-call-for-an-exterminator dept.

263

NightFalcon90909 writes "You may have heard that armed robots were yanked from Iraq after a gun started to swivel without it being told to do so. 'A recent news report that armed robots had been pulled out of Iraq is mistaken, according to the company that makes the robot [Foster-Miller] and the Army program manager. 'The whole thing is an urban legend,' says Foster Miller spokesperson Cynthia Black, of the reports about SWORDS moving its gun without a command.'"

cancel ×

263 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Robot Army! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23078700)

We start off with a robot army and soon soylent green is Heston. I've seen it before a thousand times.

Are you asking if I'm a lesbian or a replicant?

Re:Robot Army! (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079114)

We start off with a robot army and soon soylent green is Heston.
You can have my soylent green when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

Re:Robot Army! (3, Funny)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079288)

Get your stinking manipulators off me you damn dirty robots!

Re:Robot Army! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079206)

We start off with a robot army and soon soylent green is Heston. I've seen it before a thousand times.
Mm-mmm, people.

Are you asking if I'm a lesbian or a replicant?
So I take it you're a lesbicant, then?

Hey, its the ED 209 (4, Funny)

enzo_romeo (756095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078702)

Who cares if it works?

Re:Hey, its the ED 209 (3, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079610)

Um, the guy it's aimed at?

Is this a trick question?

Idea from BSG (4, Funny)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078720)

Maybe they put the Telencephalic inhibitors back in?

Re:Idea from BSG (1)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079256)

Awesome reference! I just got around to watching the last episode yesterday.

Re:Idea from BSG (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079538)

Maybe they stopped lobotomizing the toasters.

The Government Said So... (3, Insightful)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078732)

So the United States Government says this didn't happen... They also said the prisoners of war were treated fairly...
coughWATERBOARDINGcough

Yep, the government must be right!

Re:The Government Said So... (2, Funny)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078806)

Cover-up! Cover-up! You can be sure something is true if it has been officially denied. Calling this story an urban legend is the falsehood here. These Terminators are going to be the end of us all!

Re:The Government Said So... (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078976)

These Terminators are going to be the end of us all!
Now that you mention it, they are consolidating and restricting access to a lot of "in the air" government databases.. making a SKYNET if you would...

Re:The Government Said So... (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079140)

Question is what if the government is telling the truth...

You cant trust the government if it hides anything.
You cant trust the government if fully discloses everything (they must be lieing)
You cant trust the government if it give you need to know.

How do you convience Joe Six pack that we did go the moon.
That is the problem of Conspericy theories, The more proof that you give them the more elabrate the conspericy is.

Re:The Government Said So... (1, Funny)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079326)

The question is: what if the government is telling the truth?

You can't trust the government if it hides anything.
You can't trust the government if it fully discloses everything (they must be lying).
You can't trust the government if it gives you information on a need-to-know.

How do you convince Joe Six-pack that we went to the moon?
That is the problem with Conspiracy theories. The more proof that you give, the more elaborate they perceive the conspiracy to be.
Normally, I don't do corrections like this. When there are that many spelling and grammar errors, I feel obligated to make corrections.

Grammar Nazi at work. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:The Government Said So... (0, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078978)

They also said the prisoners of war were treated fairly... coughWATERBOARDINGcough

No P.O.W. was waterboarded, as a matter of fact. If you have evidence to the contrary, please, post it here. Otherwise, post a retraction. Thank you.

Re:The Government Said So... (1, Offtopic)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079100)

Political prisioners of a country in which another government is using armed forces to occupy qualify as prisoners of war. Also, lets consider that we are in a "WAR on terror." Would these prisoners, not be from this "war?" Point being, they lied about torture at Guantanamo, only to make laws enforcing it later.
Lets not forget the recent article claiming that certain sections of our own government felt it was above it's own laws.
Unfortunately in today's age, soldiers do not necessarily wield guns. A nice exploding vest does the trick.

Re:The Government Said So... (0, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079370)

Died hanging from wrists and gagged, with over 25 rib fractures UPDATE2-His Name [dailykos.com] by bewert [dailykos.com] Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:05:50 PM PDT

This is my first of a series of diaries about prisoners murdered by US forces. It will tell the story of an Iraqi man who died hanging by his cuffed wrists from a door frame, gagged, and beaten to death by his US interrogators. As the Final Autopsy Report noted:

The remains are received clad in a white shirt, white pajama type pants, and white
undershorts. Feces covers the clothing from the waist down....There is gauze dressing on the left wrist. No other evidence of medical intervention is noted.... The right chest wall has fractures of ribs three through seven anteriorly and ribs six through twelve posteriorly. The left chest wall has fractures of ribs two through nine anteriorly and ribs seven through twelve posteriorly. There are fractures of the lateral aspect of ribs nine and ten on the left side. There is a horizontal fracture through the mid-portion of the body of the sternum."

Yes, our tax dollars are paying for this. Hung up by the wrists and beaten so badly that he not only had over 25 separate rib fractures, many slicing into his lungs, he also had a fractured sternum. The thick, solid bone protecting your heart.

It gets uglier over the fold. It's time to face reality.

UPDATE: Wow, top of the rec list. You care. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I have at least two more weeks of similar diaries, I want to make them happen, to get the facts, the horrible knowledge, out to the public in the leadup to Conyers hearings. Again, thank you all for the support. Together, we might be able to have an effect.

UPDATE 2: Some context, as much as I can glean:

The autopsy seems to have been performed as part of an Army CID investigation. I was done under the auspices of (from the header of the autopsy report):

ARMED FORCES INSTITUTE QF PATHOLOGY
Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner
1413 Research Blvd., Bldg. 102
Rockville, MD 20850
1-800-944-7912

The incident in question occurred in Al asad, Iraq on Jan. 9, 2004. The victim was a member of the Iraqi Army-the rank has been redacted. The autopsy was performed at BIAP Mortuary in Baghdad. After the autopsy,

ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES
Documentary photographs are taken by OAFME Photographer PH3 [redacted] USN
Specimens retained for toxicologic testing and/or DNA identification are: vitreous fluid, cavity blood, spleen, liver.urine, brain, bile, lung, kidney; and psoas muscle
The dissected organs are forwarded with body
Clothing and personal effects are released to the Army CID agents present at the autopsy

So it seems that it was an incident that was investigated as a crime. With more digging we might be able to find out more details, but right now I'm not sure who, what, or why. And this treatment is not condoned, as it resulted in death. As we know, it's considered torture only if major organ failure or death occurs.

UPDATE 3--This appears to the case of Abdul Jaleel. [prisonplanet.com]

From the Final Autopsy Report [aclu.org] :

Circumstances of Death: Iraqi detainee died while in U.S. custody.

Authorization for Autopsy: Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, lAW 10 USC 1471

Identification: Identification by accompanying paperwork and wristband, both of which include his name and a detainee number, 3ACR1582

CAUSE OF DEATH: Blunt Force. Injuries and Asphyxia

MANNER OF DEATH: Homicide

FINAL AUTOPSY DIAGNOSES:
I. Multiple Blunt Force Injuries
A. Cutaneous abrasions and contusions of the scalp, torso, and extremities
B. Deep contusions of the chest wall musculature and abdominal wall
C. Multiple, bilateral, displaced and comminuted rib fractures, with lacerations of the pleura.
D. Bilateral lung contusions
E. Bilateral hemothoraces
F. Hemorrhage into the mesentery of the small and large bowel
G. Hemorrhage into the left sternohyoid muscle with associated fractures of the thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone

II. History of Asphyxia, Secondary to Occlusion of the Oral Airway

III. Pleural and Pulmonary Adhesions

IV. Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease
A. Hypertrophy of the left ventricle of the heart (2.0-centimeters)
B. Cardiomegaly (450-grams)

V. Enlarged, Nodular Prostate Gland

VI. Toxicology is negative for ethanol, drugs of abuse, select therapeutic medications, and cyanide

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION

The remains are received clad in a white shirt, white pajama type pants, and white undershorts. Feces covers the clothing from the waist down. The body is that of a well developed, well-nourished appearing, 68-inches, 195-pounds (estimated), White male, whose appearance is consistent with the reported age of 47-years. Lividity is posterior and fixed, except in areas exposed to pressure. Rigor is present but passing. The temperature of the body is that of the refrigeration unit.

The scalp is covered with medium length, curly black hair with some graying and frontal balding. The irides are brown and the pupils are round and equal in diameter. The external auditory canals are free of abnormal secretions or foreign material. The ears are unremarkable. The nares are patent and the lips are atraumatic. The nose and maxillae are palpably stable. The teeth are natural and in poor repair, with several missing. Facial hair consists of a gray-black beard and mustache.

The neck is straight and the trachea is midline and mobile. The chest is symmetric. The abdomen is protuberant. The external genitalia are those of a normal adult, circumcised, male. The testes are descended and free of masses. Pubic hair is present in a normal distribution. The buttocks and anus are unremarkable.

The upper and lower extremities are symmetric and without clubbing or edema. A 1/2-inch scar is on the lateral aspect of the proximal left arm. Multiple small scars are on the dorsal aspect of both hands. A l-inch scar is on the anterior right ankle. No tattoos or other significant identifying marks are noted.

MEDICAL INTERVENTION
There is gauze dressing on the left wrist. No other evidence of medical intervention is noted.

RADIOGRAPHS
A complete set of postmortem radiographs is obtained and demonstrates the injuries as described.

EVIDENCE OF INJURY
The ordering of the following injuries is for descriptive purposes only and is not intended to imply order of infliction or relative severity. All wound pathways are given relative to standard anatomic position.

I. Blunt Force Injuries
A. Injuries of the head and Neck
No cutaneous injuries are noted on the face or neck. Reflection of the scalp reveals a 1 1/2 x 3/4-inch contusion on the right frontal scalp and a 1 1/2 x l-inch contusion on the left parietal scalp. There are no associated skull fractures, epidural, subdural, or subarachnoid hemorrhages or other injuries to the brain.

A detailed examination of the anterior neck structures reveals a 3/4 x 1/4-inch hemorrhage into the left sternohyoid muscle. There is a linear fracture through the left side of the thyroid cartilage and a fracture through the left side of the hyoid bone. (a fractured hyoid is a strong sign of strangulation) [wikipedia.org] The cervical spine is free of injury.

B. Injuries of the Torso
There is a confluence of red-purple-black contusions surrounding the torso between the breasts and the costal margin, with some sparring of the mid back. A few satellite contusions, up to 2-inches in greatest dimension are associated with this large area of contusion. The posterior aspect of this large area of contusion is deep purple in color and the upper posterior-lateral aspect of this area is yellow-black in color. A distinct 5 x 4-inch area of ecchymosis (skin discoloration caused by the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels) is on the lateral aspect of the left mid chest. Two distinct 1 1/2 x l-inch contusions are at the right posterior-lateral edge of the large area of contusion. Two linear abrasions, 1/8-inch and 1/2-inch in length, are on the upper posterior left shoulder. There is a 1 1/4-inch abrasion on the posterior upper right shoulder. A 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch purple contusion is over the left lower quadrant of the abdomen. A 2 1/2 x l-inch area of ecchymosis is over the right inguinal area.

There is abundant hemorrhage into the muscle and adipose tissue of the anterior chest wall. The right chest wall has fractures of ribs three through seven anteriorly and ribs six through twelve posteriorly. The left chest wall has fractures of ribs two through nine anteriorly and ribs seven through twelve posteriorly. There are fractures of the lateral aspect of ribs,nine and ten on the left side. Fifty-milliliters of blood are in each pleural cavity and many of the rib fractures are displaced and associated with pleural lacerations. Both lungs have scattered contusions but no lacerations are noted. There is a horizontal fracture through the midportion of the body of the sternum.

A small area of hemorrhage is present in the left adrenal gland. No injuries to the kidneys are noted. Scattered areas of hemorrhage are noted in the mesentery of the large and small bowel.

C. Injuries of the Extremities
A 1/3-inch abrasion is on the anterior aspect of the right wrist. Multiple superficial linear abrasions are on the posterior aspect of the right hand. Three linear abrasions, 1/4 to 1/2-inch in length, are on the proximal lateral right arm. A 2 1/2-inch wide, weeping abrasion with some desquamation (the shedding of the outer layers of the skin) of skin is circumferentially present around the left wrist. There is a 1 x 1/2-inch contusion on the proximal posterior left arm. Two abrasions, 1/2 x 3/8-inches and 1 x 1/4-inches, are on the posterior aspect of the left upper extremity near the elbow. Two fine linear abrasions, 3-inches and 1 1/2-inches in length, are on the posterior left forearm.

A 2 x 1 1/2-inch contusion is on the anterior right leg just distal to the knee. There is a 3 x 2-inch contusion on the proximal half of the anterior right leg. A 2 x 2-inch light purple contusion is on the medial aspect of the distal right leg. There is a 2 x 1 1/2-inch contusion and two 1/2-inch in length linear abrasions over the right lateral malleolus. A 1/2 x 1/4-inch abrasion is on the anterior left knee. There is a 5 x 3-inch light purple contusion on the anterior left leg. A 1 x 1/2-inch contusion is on the anterior left ankle.

...

OPINION
This 47-year-old White male, [redacted], died of blunt force injuries and asphyxia. The autopsy disclosed multiple blunt force injuries,including deep contusions of the chest wall, numerous displaced rib fractures, lung contusions, and hemorrhage into the mesentery of the small and large intestine. An examination of the neck structures revealed hemorrhage into the strap muscles and fractures of the thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone. According to the investigative report provided by U.S. Army CID, the decedent was shackled to the top of a doorframe with a gag in his mouth at the time he lost consciousness and became pulseless.

The severe blunt force injuries, the hanging position, and the obstruction of the oral cavity with a gag contributed to this individual's death. The manner of death is homicide.

NOTE: UPDATED PARAGRAPH
This is the reality of current US interrogation techniques--they sometimes result in death. Then they are considered torture. Hung by your wrists for an extended period, gagged, and beaten so harshly that you have almost 30 rib fractures and a broken sternum, but still alive? No major organ failure? Not torture, according to John Yoo and our administration has stated it concurs.

Receiving zero medical care. Actually losing consiousness and "becoming pulseless" while still hanging, feeling your broken ribs slice into your lungs, the skin falling off your wrists where the handcuffs are supporting your weight.

Repeatedly shitting yourself. As there is simply no other choice.

This just fucking disgusts me.

Do you want to support any politician who backs this sort of brutal murder up? No matter what party. I sure as hell don't. You listening, Speaker Pelosi?

I will proudly and loudly support any politician who not only denounces these kind of interrogations, but also actually takes action to stop them. Public, significant action.

Because I sure as hell don't want to be part of an America that secretly treats anyone like this. Let alone one that treats people like this as a public proclamation.

Re:The Government Said So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079606)

So glad I'm not a Muslim terrorist! Phew! Glad I live in the USA! Don't need that shyt happening to me!!

Re:The Government Said So... (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079170)

Sure, because we've redefined what prisoner of war means, what you say is technically true. So I'm sure you won't mind if the Ministry of Truth operatives come and apply some 'joyous fun electrical stimulation' to your 'special happy place.' Hey, words can mean whatever we want them too, right? If we capture someone and they aren't wearing a uniform, they must be a terrorist and not a P.O.W., right?

Saaaaay..... are you wearing your uniform?

Re:The Government Said So... (4, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079400)

No P.O.W. was waterboarded, as a matter of fact. If you have evidence to the contrary, please, post it here. Otherwise, post a retraction. Thank you.

A valid point, but the doublethink used to consider the prisoners NOT POWs would make the signers of the declaration of independence spin in their graves and George Orwell and Joseph Stalin nod sagely.

There are no POWs here... and no Americans in Baghdad...

Re:The Government Said So... (-1, Troll)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079016)

They also said the prisoners of war were treated fairly
Real Prisoners of War are given all privileges outlined in the Geneva Conventions and then some.

Captured terrorists and guerrillas are not Prisoners of War, and should never be given the same consideration as genuine Prisoners of War. Their designation under the Geneva Conventions is illegal combatants.

And always remember: we do not need to take prisoners. It is a courtesy. It is a burden. It might be better, in our lawyer-ridden country, to just shoot the scum in the field. No muss, no fuss.

Re:The Government Said So... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079118)

The Geneva Conventions don't mention "illegal combatants" or unlawful combatants for that matter. As far as shooting everyone in sight, that's just silly. Many of the people detained in Afghanistan were simply accused by neighbors of being terrorists, but I guess since it's war and we were attacked you feel we should just kill them all.

Re:The Government Said So... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079356)

Jeez. 9/11 really did a fucking number on your head, didn't it?

Re:The Government Said So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079332)

Who defines waterboarding as unfair treatment exactly? Personally I think giving someone a bit of harmless, non-long term damaging torture like that is perfectly fair enough when those people are willing to kill or aid in killing thousands of civilians.

It's Inevitable (5, Interesting)

Al Mutasim (831844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078734)

Three false moves prior to certification is not a problem. Compare this to false moves by soldiers carrying rifles, which are universal. Even if a robot were to point its gun in the wrong direction, the person controlling it, and there always is one, would not pull the trigger. The Army will (and should) let the Talon see action. Gun-shooting robots are inevitable.

Re:It's Inevitable (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078772)

I know nothing about these things or guns in general so maybe I'm off base, but if the bit that makes it swivel engages without being told, what on Earth makes you so confident that the bit that makes it shoot will not engage without it being told?

Re:It's Inevitable (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078824)

Maybe there is a completely separate system controlling the gun, simply bolted to the frame. Anyways, the gun never swiveled without being told. From the article:

There were three cases of uncommanded movements, but all three were prior to the 2006 safety certification, she says. "One case involved a loose wire. So, now there is now redundant wiring on every circuit. One involved a solder, a connection that broke. everything now is double-soldered." The third case was a test were the robot was put on a 45 degree hill and left to run for two and a half hours. "When the motor started to overheat, the robot shut the motor off, that caused the robot to slide back down the incline," she says. "Those are the three uncommanded movements."

WTF is double-soldered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23078934)

double-soldered?

Re:WTF is double-soldered? (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079028)

I ain't no smartifitician, but I think the varmants went and made two solderifications. Twice. Double. Redundant. Two. So if one fails, the other still survives. Another solder connection. One extra interconnect. A more reliable connection.

Any mod with a sense of humor will mod me Redundant.

Re:WTF is double-soldered? (0, Redundant)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079086)

Any mod with a sense of humor will mod me Redundant.
Careful doing this. I did stuff like this before in the past, and the metamods with no sense of humor eventually got me stripped of my ability to mod.

Re:WTF is double-soldered? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079160)

But now you have a story so it was all worth it!

Re:WTF is double-soldered? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079624)

That's why you need to mod stuff -1 Overrated. No metamod for that. And preferably on +5 Funny comments where the poster will take a double-karma hit.

Re:WTF is double-soldered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079284)

You know, for the redundant wiring.

Re:It's Inevitable (0, Flamebait)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078900)

Now, I know it's nice to be able to slam the government and the war in Iraq, but next time it might be helpful and informative to read the article before you comment.

I would provide the link, but, well, RTFA.

Re:It's Inevitable (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078930)

I'm fully aware of TFA. I was responding to the scenario my parent poster described.

Re:It's Inevitable (1)

Al Mutasim (831844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078952)

The behavior of the swivel cannot be extended to the behavior of the firing mechanism. Just think of how many weapons have to be moved all the time. How many guns, missiles, and so forth have been mispointed and misplaced? I can't speak from firsthand knowledge, but it seems reasonable to assume that the firing mechanism is substantially more reliable. This article isn't reporting that a robot fired when it should not have--if it were, it would be much more troubling.

Re:It's Inevitable (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079442)

Is an armed robot that much different than say a modern aircraft? What I mean is, what keeps a modern attack place from launching a missile or shooting the guns do to a fault? Its the way things are going the best we can do is make sure they are tested retested and tested again. Still accidents will happen, and those accidents will claim lives. Thats the cold hard truth about it. As far as I know people aren't 100% failsafe either.

Re:It's Inevitable (4, Informative)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079576)

I work for a robotics company and (among other things) have worked on modifying a TALON (on which these SWORD robots are based) to work with our control software.

if the bit that makes it swivel engages without being told, what on Earth makes you so confident that the bit that makes it shoot will not engage without it being told?
To answer your question, not a damn thing. The TALON I worked with was really flaky. It shook and twitched so frequently the guys who owned the TALON referred to the bot has having the "Foster-Miller shakes."

I hope the SWORD bots are much better quality than the TALON bot, because, quite frankly, there is no fraking way I'd trust one of those things with a gun.

Re:It's Inevitable (0, Redundant)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079430)

Gun-shooting robots are inevitable.
...and 100% awesome! PEW PEW!

Re:It's Inevitable (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079512)

So it'd be fine if the wheels on your car started to move independently from the steering wheel, as the driver can just use the brakes when that happens?

Back to the robots: the trigger mechanism might also be dodgy, and what if the gun is already being fired when it starts to move?

That's a relief. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078744)

I personally would hate to see this technology shelved for 10 years. The original story seemed like an overkill reaction.

Evolver cannot lose! (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078754)

You know how I know calling your armed robots SWORDs is a bad idea? Because I saw this movie, that's how: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112993/ [imdb.com]

Re:Evolver cannot lose! (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079012)

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
Chopping Mall [imdb.com]

A bad idea, from a BAD movie. Just look at what imdb says you'll also like. Why Lurker2288, why?

Re:Evolver cannot lose! (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079244)

IT BEGAN WITH A BLOODY 'S'!

Department of redundancy department (5, Funny)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078758)

The article is worth it just for this quote: "So, now there is now redundant wiring on every circuit."

Re:Department of redundancy department (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078980)

And don't forget - All that redundant wiring is now "double-soldered".

Re:Department of redundancy department (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079386)

With all those extra wires and solder, just imagine the size of those boards! The number of connections already there had to have been large in the first place. Doubling that could potentially be a problem for internal EMI. I wonder how many strategically placed capacitors they are going to need, especially if the traces are going to be taking different routes for better redundancy.

"I'll be back" (2, Funny)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078768)

Like The Terminator, they'll be back.

Re:"I'll be back" (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079026)

You picked the wrong 1980s sci-fi film to reference. is much more appropriate. [imdb.com]

"You have 4 more seconds to comply...3...2...1. Lethal force authorized!!!"

Re:"I'll be back" (1)

thx1138_az (163286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079238)

From the looks of the thing I'd say this is even more appropriate. [nymag.com]
"Number Five, is Alive."

Sgt. Buzzkill (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078770)

"It can't shoot anyone [without orders]," Black says. "It's not an autonomous vehicle."

Can we not dream that there are artificially intelligent armed to the teeth robots ready to kill us at a moments notice?! If you take that away, what do we have left?! Do not bring your holier than thou facts to our paranoia party. If we believe hard enough that there are crazed, deadly robots on the loose, maybe... one day our dream might come true! So step off Sgt. Buzzkill.

Re:Sgt. Buzzkill (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078936)

"It can't shoot anyone [without orders]," Black says. "It's not an autonomous vehicle."

Can we not dream that there are artificially intelligent armed to the teeth robots ready to kill us at a moments notice?! If you take that away, what do we have left?! Do not bring your holier than thou facts to our paranoia party. If we believe hard enough that there are crazed, deadly robots on the loose, maybe... one day our dream might come true! So step off Sgt. Buzzkill.

Ok, they may not get orders to kill, but if their engineering is like any of the engineering that I do, autonomous killing will be a standard "feature."

Re:Sgt. Buzzkill (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079078)

Can we not dream that there are artificially intelligent armed to the teeth robots ready to kill us at a moments notice?! If you take that away, what do we have left?! Do not bring your holier than thou facts to our paranoia party. If we believe hard enough that there are crazed, deadly robots on the loose, maybe... one day our dream might come true! So step off Sgt. Buzzkill.

I'm just waiting until some one let's loose the bots and has them conquer and expand out in any direction without thinking ahead of what happens when the bots circle the Earth.

Re:Sgt. Buzzkill (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079106)

No, but if they get struck by lightning, they can be a good friend [youtube.com] .

Neeeed input!

Re:Sgt. Buzzkill (1)

Mr. Beatdown (1221940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079540)

His name is Sgt. Black.

Ooops! (4, Funny)

mcecil (1248130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078786)

(Hastily tears down "Hail Robots" sign)

Re:Ooops! (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079192)

Where are all the "I for one welcome back our robot overlord" comments?

Re:Ooops! (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079266)

55 comments so far, and nobody has mentioned welcoming our robot overlords? It's true that the meme is getting a bit old (even Fox news [foxnews.com] has picked it up — quite the death-knell), but that's never stopped Slashdotters before.

EX-TER-MI-NATE! (5, Interesting)

Aquaseafoam (1271478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078820)

EX-TER-MI-NATE! EX-TER-MI-NATE! *Cough* Hrm hrm... If a crossed wire can cause the gun to swivel, then a crossed wire can also cause the gun to fire. Anyone else surprised to see that they failed to include multiple redundancies? Of course, one could put forward the argument that the more redundancies there are, the more there is to go wrong.

Re:EX-TER-MI-NATE! (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078970)

You're confusing complexity with poor engineering. Properly designed redundancy adds to complexity while only serving to increase reliability. If it doesn't, it is not the cause of the complexity, but a fault of the engineer himself.

Re:EX-TER-MI-NATE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079472)

I, for one, welcome our robot-overlord-welcoming, america-watchdog'ing, propoganda overlords!

Re:EX-TER-MI-NATE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079172)

I, for one, Welcome Dalek conversion. I volenteer myself to be reborn as a Black one.

Traduction (3, Funny)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078854)

s/Its an urban legend/All witnesses have been silenced/

Will not delay opening of iraq (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078886)

Cynthia Black then mentioned that she would not delay the grand opening of iraq, scheduled labor day weekend, over unfounded rumors.

Someone who works on robot sensors (5, Informative)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078890)

I'm an engineer for a company that writes some of the signal analysis for robots, mostly military. They are designed to look for people, noise, or something easily sensible and train their guns on that location and await further instruction. Its a de facto law for military robot design that a human makes every firing decision, but the robot is allowed to aim and ask if it can fire. If a US soldier did something loud (shoot a gun, slam a door, yell) theres a good chance thats what set off the targeting routine. There was never any chance of a weapon being fired, except of course if there was a malicious operator. I have not worked on this type of robot, so I can't be sure of the process. There might be a user command that says "go look for target". If the robot looked for a target without ever being commanded that'd be a pretty horrendous software error.

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (4, Insightful)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078986)

But did you implement the three laws?

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (3, Insightful)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079080)

Rembmer, Asimov's laws of robotics are science fiction. They are relevant in same way as the laws of the old testament: both are prominent literary works...of fiction.

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079642)

"They are relevant in same way as the laws of the old testament: both are prominent literary works...of fiction."

So, of course, the inherent morality in both works should therefore safely be ignored.

The thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079120)

...his is a rush job. The guys at Ft. Benning did not approve this, but it was rammed through the "Good-old-boy" procurement by an ex-General. There wasn't enough testing done, and any queries by the Benning folk were met with hostility and accusations that they wanted to set it up to fail.

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079340)

If the robot looked for a target without ever being commanded that'd be a pretty horrendous software error.

There are two sides on this coin. Heads: robots are more expendable than people, and intimidating, trigger-happy, seemingly out-of-control robots can scare enough bejesus out of militant insurgents to turn the tide and keep terrorists to themselves. Tails: a robot can be captured by the enemy and leads to the scenario, unlikely as it may be, that it is sent back with enough sneakiness to gun down commanding officers.

Now we leave you with a few words from Weird Al Yankovic: Trigger happy! Trigger happy every day!

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (1)

baudilus (665036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079450)

Does a dialog pop up?

Fire gun?
[YES] [NO]

What if the operator mistakenly sees "Having fun?" and accidentally clicks yes?

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079600)

That's the Windows style of dialog box. If it was a Mac, it would say "Would you like to fire the gun? [Fire][Cancel]". For apps that follow Apple's style guidelines, the command wording goes in the button, not "yes/no".

I don't know what Linux's style guidelines say on this matter. I suspect the phrase "Linux style guidelines" are already causing some snickers.

Re:Someone who works on robot sensors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079608)

What if the operator mistakenly sees "Having fun?" and accidentally clicks yes?
The average user will just click ok without even reading the text box.

I guess you could say... (1)

relikx (1266746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078898)

...that if the government actually gave us the "Runaround" [wikipedia.org] we wouldn't be having any of these problems. *rimshot*

Do the words "Aegis Class Cruiser" ring any bells? (3, Informative)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078956)

During initial testing, the automated vessel identified Catalina Island as a fast moving object and proceeded to lock her guns on her escort vessel (which was nowhere near Catalina at the time). The system (NT 4.0 based, IIRC) had to be shut down, as there was no manual override and the Navy didn't feel like burying that many seamen at sea.

After which (with engines and navigation offline) she had to be towed back to port.

Y'know, after those problems were addressed, the Aegis-class cruiser entered service and is still a very effective platform for the US Navy. Not that I think it wise of us to arm automated robots, but from the military perspective this is only a minor setback.

Re:Do the words "Aegis Class Cruiser" ring any bel (2, Informative)

bcdm (1031268) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079306)

Y'know, after those problems were addressed, the Aegis-class cruiser entered service...

For which the passengers of Iran Air Flight 655 [wikipedia.org] are eternally grateful.

Re:Do the words "Aegis Class Cruiser" ring any bel (1)

starcraftsicko (647070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079444)

"(NT 4.0 based, IIRC)"

The Aegis system predates 'NT 4.0' by quite a bit. GC-47 USS Ticonderoga, the first ship to use the Aegis system, was comissioned in 1983.

Re:Do the words "Aegis Class Cruiser" ring any bel (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079570)

The Iranians [wikipedia.org] certainly think so...

No autonomous but.... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078960)

"It can't shoot anyone [without orders]," Black says. "It's not an autonomous vehicle."
It doesn't have to be autonomus to do bad things. Say for example you can order it to rotate the turret and to fire its gun, then the radio transmission is jammed. If you programmed it really stupid and it kept waiting for a stop command that never came, it'd fire in circles until it was out of ammo. Obviously this is a very naive example, but sure the robot can do plenty harm unless it stops cold any time the transmission is having a hiccup. Even then I'm sure there's ways to make it react unintentionally.

Re:No autonomous but.... (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079294)

Exactly if it auto targets it could potentially provoke someone that it did not intend to (even a friendly). Picture a scenario where a friendly soldier comes into a room and the robot auto targets because they're firing at a enemy. The friendly gets startled and starts firing at the robot. The operator on the other end gets startled and opens fire on the friendly.

Re:No autonomous but.... (5, Informative)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079394)

Disclaimer: I haven't worked on SWORD robots, but I have worked with the TALON on which the SWORDS are based.

The sort of scenario you describe is prevented with a heartbeat based killswitch. E.g. a signal is sent to the robot at a regular interval. If, for some reason, the heartbeat is not received, the robot immediately shuts down and stops moving. So, as you said, the robot "stops cold any time the transmission is having a hiccup." It can be a pain sometimes, but it's hell of a lot better than the alternative.

In the same way, dangerous commands (such as "shoot gun") require the robot to receive said command constantly in order to continue that action. So a robot being commanded to turn and fire just before losing comms would at worst, just turn, and typically do nothing.

Also: +1 Ironic Sig.

ROV (3, Insightful)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079052)

So it's basically a Remote Operated Vehicle, not some kind of autonomous drone. Makes sense that they wouldn't want to give up on a potentially useful project so quickly then. If they had, I'd say they were throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Of course, on the other hand is the fact that the Middle East has to be one of the most inhospitible environments for robots, what with the extremes of temperature, sand getting into internal parts, et cetera. I'm curious on what kind of tests they did with SWORD that these connections and such weren't fixed before deployment. Did they not understand that "Works perfectly in a sealed lab environment" doesn't translate to "Will work in field, without regular maintenance, in a non-ideal environment?"

Based on past performance... (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079056)

Given his track record for pointing guns in the wrong direction, perhaps we should start calling the little darlings, "Cheneys".

Re:Based on past performance... (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079322)

You know, I *just* heard a Dick Cheney shooting joke on the radio this morning, and one from my coworkers yesterday, but I'll be DAMNED if it hasn't stayed funny after so long! I break into uncontrollable laughter every time somebody mentions Cheney in conjuction with any firearm-related topic, honest.

This isn't new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079130)

What's special about this particular robot moving autonomously? A number of other automated weapons have already explicitly turned on and killed their operators, without commands and of their own volition...

Ok, now I'm nervous (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079136)

The military is leaning more and more toward unmanned, armed, this-and-that [wikipedia.org] which sounds great at first though - keep our soldiers out of the line of fire.

The the really insidious thing about this pursuit is that there is little personnel investment on the part of the military and therefor the government. This MUST be considered in a country where an armed populace is a right and is widely held as a means to defend ourselves from a rogue government. A government can put down the populace by remote control scares the bejeezsus out of me.

Scary (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079368)

It's even scarier from the other side. The only reason the US is thinking of pulling out of Iraq is because of all the solders coming home in body bags. If it was robots doing the fighting, the US would be there permanently (and anywhere else they thought they had vested interests). Is there any effective defense against a robot army (other than a larger robot army, or maybe an EMP)?

Never Say Never (5, Interesting)

bostongraf (1216362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079152)

To all those saying that a human is "required" for the trigger, and it could "never" shoot on its own, I would like to remind you of this past October in South Africa:

"It appears as though the gun, which is computerised, jammed before there was some sort of explosion, and then it opened fire uncontrollably, killing and injuring the soldiers."
This was reported here: Wired Danger Room [wired.com] The most unreal quote from that link is (IMO) this:

But the brave, as yet unnamed officer was unable to stop the wildly swinging computerised Swiss/German Oerlikon 35mm MK5 anti-aircraft twin-barrelled gun. It sprayed hundreds of high-explosive 0,5kg 35mm cannon shells around the five-gun firing position. By the time the gun had emptied its twin 250-round auto-loader magazines, nine soldiers were dead and 11 injured.
The robot was set to reload automatically, as well, and the only reason it stopped firing is because they hadn't provided it with more cartridges.

Of course it didn't shoot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079188)

"It can't shoot anyone [without orders]," Black says. "It's not an autonomous vehicle."

well, and it turned out the operator wasn't John Connor, so it drove off to find him.

They didn't pull any out (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079190)

But one was seen headed back to the States muttering about "John Connor."

Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079230)

Zap Brannigan already devised this elegant solution:

"You see each killbot has a preset kill limit. I simply sent wave after wave of my own men at them until they reached their kill limit and shut down"

human control? pshh. (1)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079236)

I bet after a few years of them "working properly" they are outfitted to be autonomous-and if bush stays around due to another war etc. they'll be patrolling american streets

Re:human control? pshh. (2, Funny)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079446)

You're wrong...Bush is scared of robots. Almost as much as he's scared of clowns.

Waves hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079296)

Foster Miller: These aren't the droids you're looking for...

I'd be more concerned if it never failed (2, Interesting)

s.carr1024 (1165945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079372)

I'd be a lot more concerned if it never failed because that would mean they don't know the true extent of its capabilities. From TFA, All three umcommanded movements occurred before it was safety certified. Meaning before it was a finished product. As always, the facts tell the story:

There were three cases of uncommanded movements, but all three were prior to the 2006 safety certification, she says. "One case involved a loose wire. So, now there is now redundant wiring on every circuit. One involved a solder, a connection that broke. everything now is double-soldered." The third case was a test were the robot was put on a 45 degree hill and left to run for two and a half hours. "When the motor started to overheat, the robot shut the motor off, that caused the robot to slide back down the incline," she says. "Those are the three uncommanded movements."


I am not exactly sure what it means to "double solder" something. But obviously double soldering and redundant wiring add design and material costs. They must have guessed they didn't need the redundancy but, diligently they ran the test and it failed. So, now the robot has redundancy. This is how product validation works. If your products never fails during validation you're probably over-engineering them (meaning a simpler/cheaper product probably could be made that meets the requirements). However, when your products fail it is your job to fix the design and rerun the test. This is apparently what happened. I don't see how any of this is news.

Re:I'd be more concerned if it never failed (1)

relikx (1266746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079522)

I don't see how any of this is news.
Take the concept of armed robots, add a dash of media sensationalism, one part healthy paranoia and simmer - that's how.

I'll take swords for 300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079530)

Sabre! It starts with a bloody S!

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23079536)

I for one welcome our new gun-toting robot overlords.

Of course they're not gone (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23079548)

They're on a murderous rampage across the country, their digital bloodlust now unsatable due to a stack overflow error.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>